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  1. Changes to increase happiness at work

    January 16, 2015 by Jenna

    We’re now settling back into our work routines for the New Year and as 2015 is a time to set out new goals and resolutions, why not aim to make changes that benefit your happiness and well-being at work?

    There are some simple steps that you can apply regardless of your role or background, and an article by Catherine Conlan will be my inspiration for this week’s blog. Here are six steps that you can apply below:

    Develop a Structured Routine

    Setting a structured routine gives a better indication of what to expect from your day and prepares you for what lies ahead. Sometimes this will require you to plan the night before, compile a list of priorities etc.

    Setting up a list of tasks and duties for the day can also save on procrastination as you have made yourself aware of what important deadlines need to be achieved. Be specific with what details you set out in your routine and what you want to achieve so that you can maintain it for a long term basis.

    Other routines may also include healthy eating plans and exercise routines which in turn can help improve daily performance.

    Become a Mentor

    If you have experience in your field and are looking for opportunities to share your knowledge and direction with other junior employees or candidates, there is a lot of fulfillment in helping others. You are not only leading someone in the direction of their future career, but you will be challenged by them to provide insight, reflect on what you have learned so far and review your career development up until this point. This can be a rewarding experience.

    Change Your Mindset

    Approaching your job as a daily investment towards your personal development will motivate you to pursue further responsibilities within the role and seek training and development in your career.

    If your daily mindset is going to work because you have to or because of financial gain, you may be limiting your motivation level and ability to perform at your best.

    Seek Out Opportunities To Give Back

    If your employer has a community service program that you can get involved in, why not take the opportunity to do something good for someone else and get away from your workplace for a few hours a week.

    Volunteering your time can allow you to develop different skill sets, and may inspire you to take on different volunteering opportunities in the future.

    Switch Things Up

    As your goals and targets will change throughout the year, make sure in turn that you are creating and adapting your routine to suit these goals. If the routine is not working to meet your personal development goals, you need to take measures to assess what isn’t working and make changes sooner rather than later.

    We also as individuals need to change processes regularly to keep us engaged and motivated, otherwise the routines can become stagnant. It is important to keep reviewing your routine over time and managing it accordingly.

    Keep Learning 

    If management would like to you take a course to further develop a particular skill or to be trained on new database/software, it is important to take up the opportunity.

    If you also feel that taking on some new training will benefit the organisations’ success, present it to the manager and don’t feel that you need to wait for training to be offered to you first. Pitch why you think the training would be beneficial and review with management to see if now is the right time to pursue it, or if there is an opportunity to pursue options in the future.

    What are some of your New Year’s resolutions? What measures will you take to develop your career and reach daily satisfaction?


  2. How to make the most out of your working day

    June 2, 2014 by Jenna

    We can all create long term plans when it comes to personal growth and career progression. But how you approach your day-to-day routine also impacts your future path. So how are you making the most of your working day?

    Here are some suggestions that can get you back on track from an article that I found in the Sydney Morning Herald:

    Daily warm-up: Assess the important tasks that need to be accomplished for the day. Who do you need to speak to? What proposals/client requests do you need action? By doing this each day it will save you on letting yourself get carried away by distractions. Write down the points if you need to and keep them at your desk like a checklist.

    Tame Technology: Email pop-ups can be really distracting while you are on the phone or are in the middle of typing up a document. But you do not need to be checking your emails every time a new one pops up. If you have an urgent task to work on, limit your time to check those emails until you are done or at least in the right frame of mind to respond. If the emails do not require an immediate response, you can certainly put them on the back-burner until you have free time to address them.

    Compress meetings: This is important especially if you are the instigator of the meeting, to keep within the allocated time frame and to cover main points/outcomes and not get sided tracked. The longer you spend running the meeting, the more you will have to catch up on when you return to your current workload.

    Pick up the phone: If there is something that you need further clarification on, instead of discussing it over 4-5 emails, why not just pick up the phone and get a direct response? While it may be nice to have information in writing, don’t forget that emails can sometimes be misunderstood, and as they are not direct conversations, sometimes it can be hard to read tone etc. If you are also liaising with someone directly within your office, try to avoid emailing them when you can walk up to them and approach them directly. That will help you keep stronger working relationships.

    Forced isolation: Whether it’s once a day or week, turn off electronic devices, avoid distractions and even find a quite space if need be to work on those high-end tasks that need to be completed. It can also be an important way to clear your mind and establish fresh ideas if you are overwhelmed or just need a quiet space to think.

    Work in waves: Allow yourself times to cover urgent tasks at times of the day when you are reaching peak performance and make sure that you allow breaks and rest periods throughout the day. The body and mind need time to rest and repair otherwise you can become stressed and exhausted which can be bad for your health long term.

    Change expectations: Make sure communicate effectively your workload and what you are capable of doing so that you do not become a ‘yes’ man. By taking on too much and not having enough time to complete it all yourself, you will not be meeting your expectations or theirs. Manage your time and workload effectively so that you can bring the best results to the table.

    Have you applied any of the above options into your daily routine? What other methods do you follow to get the most out of each day?


  3. Want to be more productive?

    April 22, 2014 by Jenna

    Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.

    –          Paul J. Meyer

    We all need productivity; it is the driving force in our lives that leads to the results we want. Being productive encourages us and motivates us to strive for something better and to be better. But there can also be times when we say to ourselves, ‘I could be more productive than this,’ or ‘How can I be more productive?

    For those of you that need a productivity boost, here are some helpful things to consider from an article I found on Careerealsim:

    1. Time Management

    Find those peak times of the day where you feel most productive to get the important tasks accomplished. For example, if you feel more refreshed in the morning, take that opportunity to utilise your energy and show your personal best.

     2. Exercise

    While it can be hard to find the motivation to exercise, once you begin a routine you will see the benefits. Not only does exercise make you look and feel better, but once you reach that level of accomplishment it creates momentum for you to strive for further achievement in your daily life. Plan a time that works for you, whether it’s before work, in your lunch break, after work or just planning outdoor activities on the weekends.

    3. Being Reactive

    While multi-tasking is a great skill to have, if you are the type of person that accepts each tasks and hops from project to project, chances are you are not going to be very productive. Taking on too many projects at once can also increase stress levels and be very bad for your health.

    Take charge of one task and complete it before moving on to the next one. This will make you more productive and appear more reliable to management when it comes to allocating future tasks.

    4. Priority List

    It is very important to establish what needs to be accomplished first and what urgently needs to be focused on so that you can manage your time and tasks better. If you don’t prioritise, the tasks will most likely run you. Establish time-frames, set it out in your schedule, avoid distractions and get it done! This can also apply to tasks that you may not necessarily favour the most, if you get them done early, then you won’t dread having to do them at the end of the day.

    5. Setting Boundaries

    This links to the priority list, and will vary for every person. But if you want to focus 100% on the task at hand you can set out boundaries so that you are not interrupted during that period of time. For example, you can try not taking phone calls for an hour, or if you are in sales, allocate 10 calls you need to make within the hour etc.

    If management or a supervisor approach you to ask you to complete another task, make sure to advise them of your current workload and availability. It is better that they are made aware of your workload so that they can advise you on how urgent the task is. It will also give them an indication on whether you currently have the capacity to complete it or if they need to delegate the task elsewhere.

     6. Commuting and Traffic

    Delays commuting to and from work can vary, so try assessing timetables and possible scenarios the night before to avoid being late for morning projects. Taking that extra time to plan and get in earlier will save the stress and anxiety you would feel if the worst case scenario were to happen.

    Some organisations may even provide you with the opportunity to work from home if you can access your emails and database remotely.

    What are some of your routines that help you stay more productive at work? What steps have worked and what didn’t work?


  4. How being a temp can make the way for your future

    March 4, 2014 by Jenna

    Whether you are a new graduate, preparing for a career change or on a working holiday visa, temporary work will not only help you get by with living expenses, it can help pave the way for future roles.

    When I had finished my Diploma in Event Management at TAFE, I was also taking on many paid and unpaid positions for different companies. My logic behind doing this was that I knew the events industry was very competitive and in high demand by candidates. I also knew that regardless of my Diploma I lacked practical experience in the field; however, being passionate about it I wanted to do what it takes to land the role that I was looking for. This is what I gained from temping and contract roles:

    It’s all about who you know – I researched organisations, I followed industry news on upcoming events, and I contacted Event Managers directly to offer my assistance in any way that I could to find out more about the industry and what is involved in organising events. I built a network of contacts and recommendations to help further my progression. It was also a chance to also prove that I was willing to work hard and learn new skills. Relationships you develop with industry contacts can also lead you to a more permanent role in the future.

    Working with different companies helps you to become more adaptable to different environments – The events industry is quite broad so I took advantage of it by working in offices directing calls and reception duties, processing payments and donations for not-for-profit events and data entry for client registrations. I even worked onsite on a customer service level at exhibitions, provided fine dining service for gala dinners and assisting with labour set up for conferences. This was a real eye opener, but it also allowed me the opportunity to ask questions and document my experiences. I think it’s a great opportunity to experience different work experience so that you can better establish was works and what doesn’t work for you.

    You can develop practical and transferrable skills – I found that by assisting in a corporate office environment to practical hands on experience I am still able to use these skills in the field of recruitment today. It is also important to remember that even the simplest of roles – such as putting labels on swipe cards or attaching name badges to lanyards are important ways for you to understand the processes involved before moving your way up in the industry of your choice. Don’t ever consider tasks in a temp position to be a waste of time and therefore not apply yourself 100% to your tasks. Companies are testing you at all times, and if you cannot complete the simplest of tasks then how are you expecting to move up into roles of further responsibility?

    • It gives you a routine and purpose – There is nothing worse than being bored or losing your daily routine when you are in between jobs or currently looking for work. Temping can help maintain a good working routine, even if it is short term. Having a level of responsibility is important too because it gives you a sense of purpose. When you are bored or not connecting on a daily basis you can develop a more laid back routine and you can start developing a less enthusiastic approach to job searching and work in general. Even if the temp role may not be in the exact direction you are hoping to move towards, just remember that each experience is a stepping stone, and you never know what opportunities can open up as a result.

    For those of you that are considering the path of temporary work, just remember to give each role and experience the best you have to offer. Have a positive attitude towards your assigned tasks and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I will always be thankful for where temporary and contract roles have lead me, the people I have met and worked with and the knowledge that I have gained.

    Have you worked as a temp staff member before or are currently working as a temp staff member? Where has it lead you on your career path?


  5. Stress: We all encounter it, so how do we overcome it?

    December 2, 2013 by Jenna

    I think one of the biggest mistakes we make is that once we start feeling the level of stress build in our daily lives, for various reasons, we tend to push the feelings aside believing that it will either ‘blow over’ or that it will sort itself out. But the problem is, if we don’t take actions to start managing our stress levels it creates in the longer term reduced morale and health problems and overall decreased productivity.

    Sometimes the idea of tackling your stress head on can seem like a much larger task than what it actually is. We are never going to live a life that is stress-free, but here are some tips below that you can start applying slowly and steadily to start getting your work/life balance back on track:

    1. One thing at a time.

    There can be many things piling up at once that seem overwhelming and create a lot of anxiety. But the fact of the matter is you need to pick one at a time in order to truly manage the task effectively. Of course you will be expected to be a multi-tasker, but prioritise your tasks in terms of timeframe and urgency, clear away anything that could be a potential distraction or obstacle, and tackle the task now! Even if it is something you don’t enjoy doing as much, you may as well get it out of the way, otherwise it can put more pressure on you by saving items to the last minute, especially when you know you have other pending tasks awaiting.

    2. Simplify your schedule.

    The more items you have back-to-back the more increased your stress levels will be. I too struggle with saying no but sometimes you need to focus on your priorities and if you have appointments space them out so that you are not rushing from one meeting to the next! This will allow you to be covered in the event of delays or meetings running over time. And for those not so urgent priorities, most people are flexible if you re-schedule to a more suitable time where you can perform at your best and be in the right head space.

    3. Get moving.

    Do something each day to be active — walk, hike, play a sport, go for a run, do yoga. And it can be for any timeframe that suits you and doesn’t have to be extremely difficult. But being healthy sometimes means stepping away from your desk and computer to let your mind relax and keep your body fit and healthy. I live by this, the healthier you are the more productive you will be, not to mention refreshed.

    4. Develop one healthy habit this month.

    This ties in with number 3, as stress tends to keep us at our desks we either limit our food intake or help ourselves to unhealthy, easily accessible snacks such as chocolate, soft drink etc. If you only get one day of the week to shop why not pre-buy nuts, fruit and vegetables, protein bars etc. This week one of the girls in our office introduced Kale Chips to share with one another as a healthy alternative. Keep your insides clean and you will feel less sluggish.

    5. Do something calming.

    What do you enjoy that calms you down? For those that may be less inclined to step out and try kite surfing like I did last weekend, finding a relaxation method like reading a book, painting, taking a nap, gardening, etc. it is important to find a bit of ‘me’ time to shut out distractions and do something that makes you feel good! Why not even try something new and creative that you haven’t tried before?

    6. Simplify your finances.

    Finances always tend to be a contributor to stress, whether it’s bills to pay, living expenses and transport costs, unexpected repayments etc. But do you currently set yourself a budget or a payment plan?

    For example, I get paid once a month so I set out ahead of time what my total cost of bill repayments will be for the following month. I also include gifts or personal purchases that I may know of ahead of time or events that I need to pay for. Then I allocate myself a set amount to spend per week to spend on food, transport etc., while allowing myself to save some additional money on the side for any unexpected payments so that I am not left unprepared. That may sound like a lot of work but if you set this up as a routine, you will find this to be quite manageable and a great way to reduce financial stress.

    7. Declutter.

    Many of my colleagues will agree that a good ‘spring clean’ or even a 10-20 minute tidy of your desk and surrounds not only makes you feel better but it also allows you to manage your paperwork and tasks when you have enough room and you can see the tasks clearly laid out in front of you! It can be a very easy habit to be a hoarder or get side-tracked but getting organised with little tasks like this will help you tackle the larger tasks. Keep a routine so that you are doing this regularly.

    8. Be early.

    How many times do you tend to stress out because you are running late for your next appointment or meeting? Too many. When you are late you are filled with anxiety, regret and often you are unfocused and it can make you unprepared and not appear at your best. Similar to what I have covered in my previous blog about interview preparation, allowing yourself that extra time to get to a location will leave you more alert, refreshed and at ease.

    My parents for example are great creatures of habit. They get up every morning at 6.00am to have time to walk the dogs, have breakfast and watch the morning news, water their garden and head to work. They have been doing that for years and have never looked back and again they have set this routine for themselves so that they can better manage their time and prepare themselves for the day ahead.

    Do you have any handy tips that you follow daily to help cope with stress? What has worked for you previously and what hasn’t?


  6. Career Development – What next? In your career

    July 9, 2013 by Jenna

    When we achieve that career goal or successfully make a career change, we can start to feel that we have reached our peak, but it is not too long before you start to realise that was not the end, but rather another new beginning. We are constantly seeking news things, constantly in demand, constantly changing.

    So what do you say to someone when asked, ‘What next?’ when it comes to your career?

    I was stumped by this question recently in a discussion with my mentor Anthony Duckworth from PwC. I had successfully changed career areas just over 12 months ago. I am still learning, still growing, and still developing new skills in this new career area. But it had been more than a year ago since I achieved my career change goal, so what next?

    I understand that I am not alone with this uncertainty.

    Being put on the spot, forced me to reflect on what I am enjoying most. ‘Well… I enjoy writing and sharing my experiences with people. I hope that as I progress in my career, I can pass on more of my experience with others and motivate them the way a mentor does. I enjoy working with people, and that’s why I enjoy working in a Recruitment Consultancy. There could be opportunities to further develop my career in marketing or gaining more HR experience working as a Consultant; those could be two great avenues I could venture towards.’

    Now that these new ideas were starting to evolve, what should I do about it? What are the next steps to take?

    Careerealism covered a good article on creating your professional development plan. They established three surprising truths:

    1. It is up to YOU – Your professional development is not the responsibility of anyone but you. You can be influenced or inspired in your current workplace, by your manager or your mentor, but ultimately you cannot rely on them to make the decisions for you. And making those difficult decisions ourselves is often how we grow. Use the opportunities you can to gain skills within an organisation and work with great like-minded professionals, but it is also important to gain that confidence to have your own voice and direction in terms of where you want to go.

    2. It’s Never ‘Final’ – A professional development plan is not written in stone. It can and it should be revised on a regular basis. We need to be adaptable with our plans in the event that changes may occur, after all, we can set direction but we never truly know what the future holds. Starting the plan is your key to overall success because plans can be revised as you go along, whereas starting from scratch every time can be a long and draining process.

    3. It’s Never Done – If you want to continue moving forward in your career, you must continue growing your skills. Learning is a lifelong process and your professional development plan is your career-long tool. As long as you continue to be a professional, your development plan will be a big component of your Career Success Toolkit.

    So where am I going to take my career?

    Most importantly, I am going to continue to search out opportunities to develop my skills. Over the weekend I attended a business seminar called ‘Become a Key Person of Influence’ held at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts). This seminar popped up shortly after I met with my mentor and what appealed to me about this course was that it ran through a five-step process on how to become more highly valued and recognised within my industry. A key part of the presentation involved building credibility through writing and publishing. So it felt like it really spoke to me as an individual. If I had not taken the step to attend, I could have missed out on a chance to learn from great entrepreneurs.

    Listening and meeting with other individuals in the same situation really brought a sense of relief! We all have ideas, we all have a story and regardless of what our backgrounds are we are capable of achieving measurable goals once we start planning out the process.

    I find that I learn most about myself when I take on new opportunities. So keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on around you, and pounce at the opportunities to further develop your skills. It is amazing what learning opportunities so many of us have access to. Whether that is enlisting support of a formal Career Development program and meet with someone to discuss your goals, or attend external business courses, or sign-up for in-house training, or networking to help connect you with others – take the opportunity to develop new skills and learn what you love most.

    And if you are like me and have ‘overlooked’ your career development or have become comfortable in your routine, take some time to review your career goals. You never know what doors could open up by redefining where you want to go.

    As for me, I am excited to newly approach my goals, find out how to further develop my own personal brand and what I can bring in terms of new ideas and development for my organisation.

    Where has your career development taken you so far?

     

     

     


  7. When was the last time you did a ‘spring clean’ of your career?

    June 4, 2013 by Jenna

    Whether you are happy in your current role or currently looking for something new, it is always important to keep your job search and career development skills up-to-date.

    Not only that but cleaning out some of the distractions and bad habits that may be weighing you down instead of helping you move forward can only be a good thing, right?

    Refresh

    Have you reviewed your resume lately?

    We tend to only look at our resume when we need to look for work. But whether you are looking for work or not, your resume is your most important personal brand document. And we all know how time consuming writing a resume from scratch is.

    So pull out your resume for a spring clean:

    Update Information – Are your most recent achievements added? Is your employment history up-to-date? Have you identified who you references will be?
    Formatting – Is your resume easy to read? Is it set out in a way where the employer or recruiter can identify your key skills without having to do an investigative search? Does it look clean and neat? Is the language formal and professional? Would it grab your attention if you were an employer?

    Another thing to keep in mind, in the age of technology – is your online presence. What does Google say about you? What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? Is it time for an update to list your most recent skills and experience? What other social media sites do you currently have a presence – do they represent the image you would like to portray?

    Update

    Do you know what level of skills you have? Do you know what skills you need to take the next step in your career?

    If you are not sure what level your computer skills are at, there are plenty of opportunities to assess your skills through online skills testing. For jobseekers you can keep a copy of the results to share with future employers.

    There is no time like the present to invest or consider additional training to update your skills. Perhaps your current employer offers training programs that you can sign-up for? If not, consider what training you need and ask at your next performance discussion with your manager.

    Set Goals

    What are your personal goals? Do they tie in with your career goals? What matters most for you?

    I’m most successful when I have a healthy body and mind. But I tend to find that my body and mind are more often in conflict rather than cooperating together!

    To get myself back on track, I set physical goals to reach the state of health and fitness I want. For me, being more active allows me to be more positive in my approach to life. Not to mention, knowing that I’m capable of achieving these physical goals helps build my confidence to push myself forward to achieve my career goals as well.

    Now I’m not saying go out and spend a lot of money to join a gym, sometimes simple things like going for a daily walk, having a yoga stretch in a park or going to a class with a friend, can really boost your overall well-being. And let’s be honest, when you are not healthy you tend to feel sluggish and demotivated. I know how difficult it is when I get caught in this rut, but once I push myself outside of my comfort zone, I definitely feel more motivated to achieve even more.

    Remove Obstacles

    Are there factors in your life that are making you stressed or holding you back from making the best decisions regarding your career?

    Too often we get busy just being busy. But are there tasks that are taking too much time that are stopping you from investing in what is important? Are there things that you could delegate, share or remove entirely to allow you the time you need to invest in what you really want to achieve?  The body cannot function without the mind, and if you are losing too much sleep because you have too much on your mind or have too many commitments on your plate this will not benefit you in the long run. In fact, if you are tired and unfocused it could potentially harm your decisions. So get rid of those negative factors that are holding you back, and if you can’t get rid of some factors try and find a way to find balance. Most likely you will know someone who has been in a similar situation and their advice could really help guide you.

    It can also be very easy to be comfortable in your current routine ‘bubble’. But every now and then we need to challenge ourselves outside of that bubble to examine if what we are currently doing is the best for us and our future career. What do you need to spring clean in your career?


  8. Your position has been made redundant, what now?

    May 20, 2013 by Jenna

    I remember when the global financial crisis happened in 2009, I was working as an Administrator for a national events company. Our General Manager from Brisbane came into the office one day while a couple of my colleagues were overseas working on a conference in Hong Kong. As the General Manager would visit periodically for business I didn’t think anything unusual of the situation and then she told me she wanted to have a private chat later that afternoon.

    That was when the bomb hit. My role was no longer going to continue within the company and I was being let go. Right at that moment. Now. ‘You will need to pack up your things and leave immediately. Do you have family or anyone that you can see at this time?’ I remember her saying. I was single and my parents lived about an hour and a half away so my cab fare home was covered by the company which was nice. But was I shocked? Yes. Did I have to explain to my parents and others that I had been let go? Yes. Did I feel devastated? Yes.

    I couldn’t help but ask if it was my performance or anything that I had done that led to the final decision. I was relieved to find out that they were more than satisfied with the hard work and effort that I had put into the role but due to cost cutting they could no longer afford to have my role continue. IT had logged me off of my computer and I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to all of the colleagues that I had worked with for those two years. Regardless of being told it wasn’t my performance that affected the decision, I still couldn’t help but feel miserable, I went home and I cried.

    After wallowing in self-pity it finally occurred to me that as this was a national company, all of the women in the other state offices that shared my role were going to be made redundant as well. It made me realise how hard it must be to be the manager and having to look at each staff member in the face and deliver this bad news. But with any role in leadership you need to make the decisions for good of your company and your staff.

    Keeping that in mind I made an executive decision. I asked if I could come in the next day and finalise a handover of all of the events that I was working on so that none of my team members were left out of the loop when they returned from their conference. I could have naturally turned my back on the company and had a bitter attitude towards them and the situation but who really benefits from that in the end?

    The next stages I went through were feelings of anxiety over no longer having financial security and not only that, but how was I going to find a new role during the GFC?

    We all react differently to stress and shock, for me what I think helped:

    Talk to friends/family and people you know – It doesn’t have to be a secret, remember it is not your fault that you are in this position and there is no point in isolating yourself when you have people around you that care about you and can offer support. Not only that but they may have heard about potential new job opportunities or have contacts that you can get in touch with to help get you back on track. It is amazing what word of mouth can do!

    Take advantage of outplacement services – if your company offers you an outplacement service, take advantage of this option to have a professional assist you with your job search skills, resume review, interview skills and career planning. They can also be a sounding board if your job search stalls.

    Keep yourself on track and keep setting a routine – Keep normal sleep patterns, you don’t want to sleep through the day because you are lacking motivation or self-confidence. Eat healthy, exercise, keep yourself at your best so that when new opportunities present themselves you will be your best. Like the famous saying ‘you are what you eat’, if you are sluggish, tired and not looking after yourself, people will notice and it will affect your performance/outcome.

    Set daily goals, tasks, things that you want to achieve – Whether it is personal goals or writing down how many jobs you would like to apply for in a day, it is important to have something that drives you. When you are lacking motivation it can be easy to distract yourself or procrastinate from more productive tasks – e.g. watching television, going on Facebook all the time, napping, etc. Take the opportunity to realise that you have all of this free time to do things that you may not have had the chance to do before. Time is often limited so take this gift of free time and make the most of it!

    Educate yourself – Research more on how you can advance your skills, read more news items and publications to learn more about your industry and the world economy. Seek career guidance and mentors that can help lead you on track with your career. You are never too old or young to keep learning something new. And who knows where that knowledge could take you?

    Be patient – You may not get a call back from the first new role you apply for. Keep going, keep your options open, and follow up.

    It took me at least a month of applying for jobs before I found that next role for me. That didn’t mean I wasn’t nervous and anxious after not hearing back after applications and interviews but I still had to have faith in something better to come along, and confidence in myself that I would get the next role that suited me.

    Did I fear that this type of situation could potentially happen to me again? Yes, but I wasn’t going to let that fear of rejection hold me back from a new opportunity. Why? Because we all have to face risks whether it’s in our personal or professional life. They will knock us back, hurt us, make us feel defeated. But it is a chance to get back up and start fresh, learn from past mistakes, and move on.

    If this has just happened to you and you are still feeling negative and bitter about the whole experience, it’s understandable, but talk to someone and work through the issues so that you can become ready to face what is to come.

    In the words of Ghandi: “Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”


  9. Are you really THAT busy? What is your routine?

    April 15, 2013 by Jenna

    Do you ever find that the common reason behind many cancellations and postponed meetings is because people are too busy? In today’s world it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t have work commitments, family commitments, social commitments, bills to pay, side projects to run etc.

    Why is it when we all have the same hours in a day that only some of us are finding the balance that we need and others barely have the time to get anything done?

    Is it psychological? Is it poor time management skills?

    And what sacrifices are you making when you are too busy?

    We are all different when it comes to dealing with busy or stressful situations. Some of us thrive on the adrenalin rush of a short deadline and others require more preparation and may crumble under pressure.

    Know your limits

    There is also some of us, like myself, who have difficulty switching off and like to take on multiple projects at once, whether at work or in your personal time. But the best advice that I can give to this crowd is know your limits, because at the end of the day, if you are overworked and too busy, no one will be impressed by the amount of projects that you have on if you are unable to accomplish them because you have over-committed!

    Not sure what category you lie in? Well here are some common symptoms of those that are overworked and stressed:

    • Memory problems
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Poor judgment
    • Seeing only the negative
    • Anxious or racing thoughts
    • Constant worrying
    • Moodiness
    • Irritability or short temper
    • Feeling overwhelmed
    • Sense of loneliness and isolation
    • Nausea, dizziness
    • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
    • Frequent colds
    • Eating more or less
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Isolating yourself from others
    • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
    • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

    As individuals we need to be driven, we need goals and projects and challenges to keep us going. But we shouldn’t need to put ourselves in situations where we have ‘too much’ on our plates. And if it is too much, we need to say so. Admitting early on that you are not able to complete a task does not make you a failure, it allows you time to let management know what you are doing and it allows them to effectively delegate tasks amongst members of your team. Or you can even ask a team member to help, because working together as a team is important for development.

    Now I’m not saying that if you cut down on your workload that you won’t ever experience stress or feel overworked at some stage of your career. But if this is a daily habit then you have to consider the facts that it’s unhealthy for your physical being and your personal life.

    And if you keep using the line ‘I’m too busy’ as an excuse, it tends to fall in the same category as ‘my dog ate my homework’ when you were at school. Everyone is in the same boat and we are trying to make the time to see you, and they will only fall for that excuse so many times.

    Set a plan of attack

    A work routine can be like a fitness routine – We follow strong for the first few months then we can start to either lose motivation or we start to lose track of our initial goals. But at the same time a routine is so vital in order to achieve results! Especially when we are balancing multiple tasks, if we don’t set out the important/urgent tasks at the beginning of our day we will most likely get distracted and end up unprepared, disorganised and incomplete. In fact, we probably save ourselves more time setting out a plan for the day rather than entering our day worrying about everything we have to do and not having any sense of direction.

    Not only that but how can we expect to move up the corporate ladder or be trusted to manage tasks if we are unable to manage ourselves?

    So what goals have you set so far that you might have strayed away from this year? Do you think it may be time to re-evaluate these goals to find more of a work-life balance?


  10. Is it OK to do your makeup during the morning commute?

    December 13, 2011 by Jenna

    I suppose I should begin by coming clean and explaining why I chose this as my topic for last week’s online poll and, subsequently, this week’s blog post. 

    Last Monday, I was sitting on the train during the morning commute and I became riveted whilst observing a young lass applying her makeup. And I don’t mean daubing on a bit of lippy, I mean her whole makeup routine, from foundation and concealer on those unsightly dark circles and areas of uneven skin tone through to a dusting of loose powder over her face and neck, from eyeshadow, eyelash curler and mascara through to lip liner and lipstick. A final dab with a tissue and she was ready to face the world. It was quite instructive in a way. 

    However, I felt somewhat sorry for the gentleman sitting beside her (at least I think it was a gentleman – it was difficult to be certain given the cloud of powder he was cloaked in, magician-like). 

    Personally, I do not like it. At all. I can cope with a slick of lippy and a dab of powder from a compact, but the whole routine from go to woah? No no no. No. 

    Am I overly sensitive? Should I just build a bridge and get over it? I just had to know what other people thought. I first posed the question “Is it OK to do your makeup during the morning commute?” on my Facebook profile. Reponses were mixed, but were essentially divided between “no, I hate it, why don’t you do it at home or in private somewhere?” and “yes, who cares, as long as the person is not encroaching on my personal space”. 

    I then put it out there to our eNews readership and visitors to our website’s homepage

    And again, it was pretty much evenly split between YES and NO. The few respondents who chose “Other” were basically smart alecs who said they were okay with it as long as they could shave / brush their teeth / squeeze their pimples / pluck their eyebrows / cut their toenails. 

    Gross. 

    One respondent enjoyed the fact that applying lipstick whilst on a moving vehicle was rich in comic potential: “how amusing is it to watch the application of lippy go horribly wrong as a result of heavy braking?” 

    Another respondent had no issues with a quick touch up but drew the line at anything heavily scented or that released clouds of powder or particles that might be irritating to other people or even cause allergic reactions. Fair enough, I say. 

    Another was quite adamant in their response: “Who cares what you do in your personal space on public transport! As long as it doesn’t disturb anyone else, why should it matter?” 

    And ultimately, I suppose that is the crux of the issue – we should always ask ourselves “Is what I am doing right now in this public space going to p*** the people around me off? How would I feel if someone, especially a stranger, was doing this very close to me?” 

    And that extends beyond rampant makeup application to playing computer games without using headphones, wearing headphones whilst listening to music that you may as well not be wearing because your music is so bloody loud that everyone on the carriage can hear it anyway (and why is it somehow worse when you can ONLY hear the tinny treble track or the tortuously repetitive bass track?), taking part in endless, inane conversations rendered even more so because only on side can be heard, sending text messages on a mobile phone that is not set to “silent” … I could go on. And I KNOW I am not alone in finding this list of things maddening. 

    What annoys you when you’re on the bus or train? Leave your comment below!

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